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Editor's chat

Thursday, 3rd August, 2017 9:07am

It was my beloved grandfather's eighth anniversary this week and he was very much in the family's thoughts.

Fabulous pictures I hadn't seen for years were posted and one particular image of my grandparents doubled up laughing at a party really made me smile, for you couldn't meet a more sociable pair.

The lived a stone's throw from the local pub and as children, we were all sent down the hill by him to get a bar of chocolate, or a bag of crisps, when the munchies hit. It was competitive stuff, for the chosen child also got a treat and maybe even a fizzy orange, or pint of razza.

Money was never an issue, it was all simply put on the tab. Every birthday, wedding, christening, funeral and family gathering was convened there and all put on the tab, to be paid whenever.

But it was always paid. For much like the few grocery items on tick, the bag of coal, or the bottle of milk – previous generations always paid. They'd rather die than be labelled a bad debt.

Nowadays, we've no such shame and that explains why few places let you run up a tab anymore. Except the Dáil bar and restaurant, which was forced to write off a €5,000 tab - because it cannot recoup the losses.

TDs and Senators can use the facility when ordering food and drink in the Dáil, which they can pay off at a later stage. However, a report issued to members of Oireachtas said there is no realistic prospect of recovering the money.

An Irish Times report said that there will be a revised credit policy developed to restrict the time that TDs and Senators have to settle their accounts in the bar.

Do we really need a bar in the Dáil at all? Do you have access to alcohol at work? Me neither...it's all a bit well, Irish.

What really made me laugh this silly season was reports that the amount involved was very small in the overall context of the bar and restaurant. Really? Do you know many businesses that can afford to write off a five grand debt?

Nothing new apparently, Oireachtas staff have had to chase politicians to pay off bills for years but Leo won't name and shame. How predictable.

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